Author's Note: Written for scribbulusink's I Don't Want to Die a Virgin Challenge.
"S... sorry about that last, Professor. I... I didn't mean..."
"Shut. Up. Granger." Severus ground out the words through clenched teeth, accompanied by the most venomous look he could muster. He should have known something like this would happen.
Bloody, bloody Hell.
Since Dumbledore's near-fatal injuries at the Battle of Hogsmeade, Hermione Granger had been tasked with debriefing Snape when he returned from his missions. Snape was not entirely thrilled with that arrangement, but it was a necessary security measure. There was a very real danger that Snape's cover might be blown, and that he might then be sent back to Hogwarts under the influence of Imperius. Dumbledore had always assessed him upon his return, but he was no longer up to the task. As there was no other Legilimens among the Order, they had resorted to the use of Veritasserum, and a skilled interrogator. Shaklebolt might have been the more obvious choice, but as an Auror, he continued to work at and live near the Ministry. They needed someone who could be at Hogwarts consistently. From a list of equally unappealing choices for that assignment, Snape had chosen Granger.
Veritasserum, though it always forced the subject to tell the truth, could not ensure that the subject did not obscure that truth with deliberately misleading or incomplete statements. Snape had chosen Granger because she was one of those rare persons capable of parsing shades of meaning - she could therefore be taught to ask precise questions and probe until she had precise answers. That, at least, was the reasoning Snape gave the others. The rest was that he trusted in Granger's inherent sense of honor, coupled with a healthy fear of his wrath, not to probe too deeply into personal matters. (Minerva McGonagall, though quite honorable, was also nearly as much a busybody as Dumbledore himself, and possibly even more convinced that she knew what was best for him. Snape hadn't liked the thought of what might come out of that.)
So Snape had coached the Granger girl in interrogation, training her especially to recognize when the subject was evading with vague (though true) answers. Then he'd taught her to follow her instincts and pursue when she thought she'd discovered something. It hadn't taken long to get her to put aside the insipid niceness she'd been raised to, and bring out her inner ruthlessness. He'd been quite pleased with her progress, and had congratulated himself at having discovered her talent.
In retrospect, however, he'd perhaps been a little too pleased with his eager pupil, and trained her a bit too well. Because at the moment, Snape was cursing mightily the girl's perspicacity.
In the course of this particular debriefing, Snape had mentioned that he had been required to brew an illicit potion - one that required several ingredients not available on the open market. Most Snape had gathered himself from the Forbidden Forest, but there was the matter of the virgin's blood. In order to be useful, it had to be extracted as part of a specific Dark ritual, and it had to be fresh.
She had asked Snape from whom the blood had obtained, and he'd answered, with complete truthfulness of course, that the blood had been donated voluntarily by one of the Death Eaters.
Since this answer eliminated the possibility of there being any innocent victims in need of rescuing (or another name for the mounting death toll), it would have satisfied even most Aurors.
But Hemione had caught something of the inherent outrageousness of that statement and asked, flippantly and entirely rhetorically, how many virgin Death Eaters would go about advertising that fact by volunteering themselves as donors. Of course, the Veritasserum did not make distinctions in the questioner's tone of voice, and Snape was forced to answer - though he tried to evade by stating that there was one who could donate without revealing his identity. Then waited in horrible anticipation for the little chit to ask the inevitable next question, from which no verbal acrobatics would allow him to hide.
And when she did, he answered automatically with the rest of the truth - that he'd drawn the blood from himself.
After that ignoble revelation, Granger had at least had the good grace to look shocked. She sank into the chair across from him and stuttered her apology. After he'd told her to shut up, he'd turned to stare into the fire, pointedly ignoring her. He expected her to sneak out of his office quietly. That's what she'd done after he'd made other... unsettling revelations from which he'd needed to recover.
This time, however, she continued to sit across from him, looking at him intently.
He turned around to face her once more, intending to throw her out. If he'd seen anything akin to pity on her face, he probably would have done. But all he saw there was the deep desire to ask him more questions, battling against either her sense of self-preservation or sense of decorum, he couldn't tell which.
And oddly, he felt the sudden need to answer those questions. Probably an effect of the bloody Veritaserum, he thought.
Or the fact that you'd really like to shag her, more like, his inner self sneered.
But what would it hurt, he wondered - to have her know the rest, now that she already knew the worst? The real story was probably a good deal less pathetic than the girl was currently imagining anyway. And if things went too badly, he could always Obliviate her - his promises to Minerva be damned.
And she might even think your tragic little story noble - and want to shag you! Severus told his inner self to bugger off.
"Did you have further questions of me, Miss Granger? I'm sure you're dying to know the rest of the grim details."
"I'm sorry, sir. It's just that... well, you taught me how to sense when there's more to the story, and..."
"You've sensed correctly, as always. And now, you insufferable little know-it-all, you wish to indulge your morbid curiosity regarding my personal life. But for the moment, I will choose to allow it."
Granger didn't need further encouragement. "You're a virgin on purpose, aren't you?"
"Yes. Or, rather, I have turned down opportunities to have sex for various personal considerations."
"You're... saving yourself for marriage?"
Snape snorted. "Hardly. You've surely noticed the double standard for witches and wizards in that regard?"
"I've noticed. Though I do wonder who wizards are supposed to cavort with, if the witches all wait for their wedding-night. But if not for marriage... are you saving yourself for a particular someone?"
"No. That's a rather romantic notion, Miss Granger, if I may say so. My passions tend to be more vengeful than romantic."
"You've abstained from sex... for vengeance?"
"Against my father, yes. But mostly against my younger self. For their unforgivable stupidity, and for leading me to this miserable pass."
Granger frowned and knitted her brows, taking that in.
Snape meanwhile was beginning to feel decidedly uncomfortable with the conversation. He'd gotten the point across to her, after all - that he hadn't simply been denied the opportunity, it had at least in part been his choice. The rest had been buried so long - he really didn't wish to revisit those times.
"I believe that is all I wish to say on this matter," he said, repressively.
Granger, however, was in full sleuthing mode and was not so easily put off. "You can't stop there Professor. What did your father do, that you need to revenge yourself on him?"
"He did a number of things, including kill my mother, eventually."
She asked the sharper question. "What did he do that made you abstain from sex?"
"He cursed me."
"Why would your own father curse you?"
"For the good of the bloodline, at least that particular time. He didn't generally have much compunction about cursing either me or Mother when he was angry. There was a reason, you see, that I had mastered such an extensive catalogue of hexes before I ever even came to Hogwarts."
"And what did you - your younger self, anyway - do?"
"He cursed me as well. And twice as effectively as Dear Father, as it turned out."
"Miss Granger, I've had enough of your tiresome questions. Unless you have any further Order business with me, I suggest you leave this office immediately and forget we ever discussed any of this." He put a very convincing note of warning in his voice, which certainly should have worked on her six months ago. Too bad he'd since trained her to ignore his bluster.
She didn't budge, but did ask him with some sympathy, "This is difficult for you to talk about, isn't it?"
"Yes," he replied automatically, but with no small amount of bitterness.
"But at least a part of you wants to?"
Damn the girl - she's far too good at this.
Very softly, Snape replied. "Yes."
And so it all came out, slowly - extracted for Granger's amusement from the depths of his memory. About the girl. About the curse. About the deaths.
Severus Snape had been a terribly unpopular student. He wasn't by nature a social creature, and it hadn't really been so much the lack of friends that had bothered him. It was the preponderance of enemies.
Being on edge constantly left Severus emotionally exhausted and in need of a little peace. That he found in Sprout's greenhouses, tending to the plants on his free evenings. And later, in those same greenhouses, he'd found Florence.
He hadn't paid the Hufflepuff girl much notice at first - she was quiet, a little mousy, and a Muggleborn. He wasn't one to taunt Muggleborns for sport (at least not those who hadn't crossed him), but he didn't actively seek association with them either.
Eventually it registered with Severus that the girl paid him an awful lot of attention, and in time he realized that it meant that she liked him. A good Slytherin pureblood should probably have been repulsed by her attentions, but Severus found that all of that mattered little in face of the fact that he was terribly curious and she was so obviously willing.
They'd moved beyond the first heady kisses and into more serious explorations of each other rather quickly. Florence had seemed content, for a while, to just fool around. She got quite adept at various forms of pleasuring him, and he found himself making excuses to spend time with her more often. He wasn't in love with her, not at all - but he did enjoy what she did for him, certainly.
Severus hadn't noticed when things first started to change. How they'd begun to talk afterward. How he'd started to care more for her than he'd planned to. How she'd chosen to overlook his obvious defects and liked him as a person. How happy that had made him.
But the world - his world - would eventually come crashing in on them. While other Seventh-year couples had chattered happily about the future, Severus and Florence maintained an uneasy silence on the subject. He was a Pureblood, and up to his eyeballs in the Pureblood Isolationist movement. There couldn't be any future, though neither seemed ready to let go or acknowledge that fact.
In the end, she'd offered him the one thing he'd never asked her for - her virginity. Offered to be his lover, even if he couldn't (or just wouldn't) marry her. He remembered her making that offer, incongruously shy given her state of undress and the fact that she was straddling him. He remembered how badly he'd wanted to just give in and take her.
And he remembered, oh so clearly, deciding that she wasn't good enough for him.
He hadn't exactly put it that way to her, but she'd gotten the message. She'd fastened up her clothes and sadly kissed him goodbye.
A month later, he took the Mark.
Six months after that, Florence was dead.
He might have prevented that, had he not been such an utter shit - but he'd continued to use her after their breakup, because her kisses helped him briefly forget the nightmare his life had become.
He'd sent her an owl to warn her to stay at home the day of the Diagon Alley attack. Instead, she'd been there Christmas shopping with her Muggle parents - they might as well have had targets painted on them.
When Severus finally returned to his flat, still too numb with shock for grief to have set in, he'd found his note had been returned, unopened and accompanied by a note from her:
I just can't do this anymore, Severus. I wish you well, and hope you understand.Snape hadn't attended her funeral, a Muggle affair. But he'd watched the internment from the wood near the cemetery. He made his way blindly to her grave after he thought everyone had departed, and fell to his knees, burying his face in his hands. And after a moment, heard a very angry voice behind him.
All my love,
"You owe her, Snape. If you know who did this, you fucking owe her."
She dropped a piece of paper in front of him. "Here's your chance to do the right thing, for once in your miserable life."
And he had. He'd given information on the Death Eaters responsible for the attack. Including his own father, who had mistaken Severus's mother as the source of the leak - prompting him to torture her to death, seeking a confession.
His father's last act as the Aurors took him into custody - before his wand was snapped in two and he was hauled away to Azkaban - was to place a curse on his son. A pragmatic old pureblood curse that renders the male subject unable to experience personal happiness or fulfillment until he fathers a child.
It had been meant as a means to an end - to ensure that in his absence his son would find himself a suitable mate and breed an heir.
Severus saw it as a fitting punishment, for himself and for his father, if that never came to pass.
And so Severus Snape had remained a virgin.
The tale told, the two sat in silence, sipping at the Firewhiskey Snape had poured for both of them as the story had progressed.
It had been cathartic, confessing to Granger about Florence - and fitting, in a way. Since he couldn't confess to Florence any longer, Granger made a decent surrogate for her ghost.
He'd be feeling much better about himself at the moment, except that his libidinous inner self kept making lewd observations about Granger.
Severus was about to call it a night, when Granger asked a question that threw him totally off guard.
"Do you ever... well... get yourself off?"
"Yes," he'd replied without thinking. "Damn it, girl - you've no right to..."
"I'm asking for a reason. I'd worried that you'd sublimated your sex drive entirely. But it seems you still have your natural urges."
Snape felt his face grow fire-hot. But he was still too stunned at this turn in the conversation to speak.
"If you want to know what I think - I think it's time you lifted that curse."
"Because there's a long line of women just waiting to have my child. You must have met some of them on your way to my office."
Granger ignored his sarcasm. "I meant the curse you've self-indulgently held over yourself. With all due respect Professor, you need to get yourself laid already. I mean, you want to, right?"
"Yes. But I'm not exactly..."
"You've got someone you fancy?"
"Yes." Severus felt himself blush as he said that, cursing the potion for the millionth time that evening.
"And is she available?" Granger had gotten up from her chair and was now standing over him.
"I... I think so, yes." He found he couldn't meet her eyes.
She leaned in so that he had no choice. "Someone I know?" she asked softly, clearly having deduced the answer by that point.
He'd barely had time to nod his head dumbly in response before she had leaned in and kissed him full on the mouth.
And since Hermione's tentative kiss was really an unspoken question, the Veritasserum compelled him to respond with his honest answer in kind. He kissed her back.
As the kiss ended, she murmured against his lips. "Thought so."
"Miss Granger... I can't do this."
"Yes, you can." Hermione said confidently as she stepped back away from him. "But I'm not going to force the issue tonight. You're clearly overwrought."
"The offer has been made, Professor. It's up to you whether you pursue it, or no."
"I'm your teacher. I can't just..."
"This is no longer a school. It's a military installation. And we're just two soldiers waiting to die for the cause. It's just a question of whether you're willing to forgive yourself, before you die."
He stared after her for a few moments after she left, still stunned. Then in a flash of self-righteous anger, he threw his whiskey glass at the door, where it smashed satisfyingly into a hundred pieces.
How dare she make light of his sacrifice? What the Hell did she really know about any of it anyway?
Except that she was right. What once had been a genuine expression of grief and remorse had long ago devolved into self-indulgent wallowing in his own misery. Remembering Florence tonight brought that home to him. It was a bloody rotten memorial to someone who had once given him so much joy.And wouldn't Father just spin in his grave if I took up with such an uppity little Mudblood?
Severus, for the first time in a long while, let himself enjoy the way his inner self thought.
Shortly after that fateful conversation, Severus found himself with little time to consider Miss Granger's little proposal. The climactic battle was coming, faster than anyone would have thought. And Snape, being right in the middle of it all, was run into near-exhaustion.
The atmosphere at Hogwarts tensed in anticipation, and as it did it seemed the hormone levels rose astronomically. Whether it was to calm their nerves, or whether it was some basic instinct to preserve the species in the face of a deadly threat - everyone seemed to be seeking comfort wherever they could find it.
The staff - even Snape himself - had turned a blind eye to the nightly goings-on. Many of these children would be dead inside of a few weeks - no one wished to deny them the small scraps of life they might discover for themselves now.
McGonagall, usually ever the enforcer of virtue, had (according to one unconfirmed rumor) called together the Gryffindor females and not-so-obliquely suggested that they consider "having mercy" upon the boys that approached them.
Meanwhile, Snape was living on a steady diet of coffee and Pepper-up, wishing he had the guts to ask Granger for a little of that mercy.
As it happened, she apparently was in a merciful mood the night she came to him in his office after supper.
"You've had time to think it over. Do you know what you want to do, Professor?"
"I don't want to die a virgin, Miss Granger."
She smiled rather seductively as, with a flick of her wand, she locked the door and cast a soundproofing charm.
And so it was that Severus Snape for the second time in his life found himself with a lapful of willing Muggleborn witch. It should not be said that he was a man who refused to learn from his past mistakes.
At first, his response to her advances was purely physical. Her lips were soft and sweet against his, her kisses insistent. She'd taken his hand and placed it on her breast, and he stroked her there, tentatively at first, feeling her nipple tighten though the fabric of her blouse and bra as his tongue made a thorough exploration of her mouth.
His other hand moved slowly up her thigh, underneath her uniform skirt to her deliciously rounded arse. Lace knickers, he noted, not the utilitarian cotton he'd expected. This discovery sent an unexpected jolt of desire through him, and his hips bucked involuntarily, grinding his aching cock against her.
This aggressively sexual reaction jolted him back to reality - to exactly what he was doing, and with whom. He started to panic, trying and failing to pull away from her, entwined as they were in his office chair.
"Yes - n-no. Not... I can't." He finally managed to dislodge the girl and get to his feet. "What the bloody Hell am I doing?" he sobbed.
"Getting on with your life, Severus. Putting your past and your hateful father behind you once and for all."
"I... just can't. It's too much to ask."
"Of who? Me?"
"I'll remind you that you didn't ask. I offered."
"You don't know me well enough to offer this."
"I know you well enough. I know you did some terrible things when you were young, and that you've done many more terribly brave things since. I know that you're a spy, and that probably only a handful of people will ever even know what you've done, and you do it all anyway. I know that you don't deserve to live your life in misery because your father tried to force you to live by his ideals."
She paused, then slammed down the untouched bottle of contraceptive potion he'd given her on his desk. "I also know that I'd be right proud to give birth to your half-blood child, and give your father a real spin in his grave."
"You... you meant to..."
"Break the curse, yes. I figured you'd never have agreed if you knew. But I wanted to give you this. I came to you today because I'm at my peak fertility - though I augmented that with a potion, just in case."
"Do you have any idea what you're suggesting? What gives you the right to make that choice?"
"And now I've told you - so you get to choose for yourself. As for me, I'm choosing life and hope and happiness and everything Voldemort isn't. Now are you going to fuck me or not?"
She looked beautiful - her eyes bright, her face flushed, her hair wild, her mouth in a lovely pout. He doubted any man in the world could resist her just now, and certainly no thirty-nine year old virgin.
He stepped forward and took her chin in his hand. "You can't right every bloody wrong in the world, you foolish girl."
"I can right this one, tonight. If you let me."
What could he do? This was a girl who set clothing booby-traps for house elves. He didn't stand a chance.
He hadn't had high expectations for his performance, but with Hermione's encouragement, at least it hadn't been thoroughly embarrassing. He'd taken care of her first, just in case, and that had proved to be a wise strategy. Because the main event had been just little briefer than he would have liked.
But right now, he was feeling sated and generally pretty pleased with himself. Hermione was still entwined, dozing on his chest.
"Miss Gra- Hermione?"
"There was something further to that spell of Father's. You see, it was meant to be humane - after a fashion anyway. Wizards of old didn't really have much choice about procreating after all, whatever their personal desires. The spell was intended to give them something in return."
"Give them back something that was taken away, more like," Hermione sniffed.
"Well, the happiness, yes. But there's more. Once conception has occurred, an irrevocable bond is woven between the man and the mother of the child. So you see -- in the unlikely event that I actually manage to survive this -- I'm afraid you and the baby will be stuck with me."
"Oh, horrors! What shall we do?"
"I'm being serious, Hermione. And while we're at it, we haven't even talked about what we're going to do with this child."
"Are you actually talking as if maybe you do plan to survive all this?"
"At the moment, that's exactly what I plan to do. Though more immediately - Accio ring! - I intend to marry you."
Hermione sat up in indignant surprise. "You WHAT?"
"Marry you. Can't let that little one be illegitimate. And can't assume that we'll have time to do it later."
"I'm only eighteen, Snape. I don't want to be married right now. Oh, I don't mean to offend you, and I don't plan on going anywhere. Don't pout. Besides," she grinned at him impishly, "Think how much fun you'll have shocking your relatives with your little Muggleborn harlot and her kid."
"They'll just think... everyone will think that I haven't married you because of your blood. Wear my ring, at least, Hermione. Let the world know I'm willing whenever you are."
"I'm newly deflowered and vulnerable here, Hermione. Just humor me."
She put her hand out, and he slipped the ring onto her wedding-finger.
"Actually, yes, I am - which means that..."
"Looks that way... Dad."
Severus suddenly felt greensick. "Oh gods."
"Calm down Severus. Remember... happy."
"Happy. Right. Gods."
Unbidden, that familiar waspish voice in Severus's head chimed in. You knew you should have kept it in your bloody pants, you great git.
But this time Severus really meant it when he told his inner self to sod off.